Christ, Our Messiah

And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he said, Behold the Lamb of God!”

~ John 1:36

The Jews had long sought the coming Messiah. And a “lamb” in the Jewish culture had a deep, rich and symbolic meaning that symbolized the one who would come as their Deliverer. The promised Messiah would be likened to one who is “like a lamb that is led to slaughter” (Is. 53:6-7). When John the Baptist declares to the world “Behold the Lamb of God”, those there that day understood that John was saying here’s our Messiah, here’s our Deliverer, here’s the one who has been promised to save and deliver us, Jesus – the Messiah – the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!

Like the blood of the lamb that was used during Passover as a covering on the lintel and doorposts over the homes of the Hebrews in Egypt to protect them from God’s vengeance, so the blood of Christ, our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7), the Lamb of God, is the sinner’s covering from God’s just indignation against our sin. God sees us, not in ourselves, not in our own righteousness, nor according to our good deeds (as if there were any), but rather God looks at the faithful through the sacrificial blood of the Lamb, through Christ our Messiah.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Dear Jesus, thank You for offering Yourself as my Passover. Though I deserve the punishment for my sins, by Your grace I am passed over and enjoy the blessings of knowing You as my Covering. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Prayers of St. Paul – Pt. 1

I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with understanding.

~ 1 Corinthians 14:15b

I would like to take a few posts and survey some of the prayers and prayer methodology of the Apostle Paul. Paul is well-known for his fervent proclamation of the Gospel and his tireless defense of sound doctrine. But this dear saint was also a deeply devotional and passionately Spirit-filled man of prayer. With even a cursory reading of Paul’s epistles, one will find a treasure trove of guidance and instruction for their own prayer life. After studying Paul’s prayers, I might even say he is the quintessential New Testament example for believers today. My sincere hope is this series will be of spiritual profit to those who read it.

In 1 Corinthians, the 14th chapter, Paul lays out two guiding principles for his prayer life. Number one, he will pray with the spirit. Number two, he will pray with understanding. Any meaningful and moving prayer will always consist of these two elements. As for praying with the Spirit, it can be said there is no godly prayer without it. Prayers of our own making, prayers of our own strength, without the abiding and enabling help of God’s Holy Spirit are no prayers at all. We pray in the power of the Spirit or not at all. The person who seeks to bring their supplications before the Lord, must first seek and find the communion of the Holy Spirit to make their prayers pleasing and acceptable to God (Romans 8:26-27).

Second, Paul’s desire is to pray with understanding. The idea here is he will pray intelligently, with a working knowledge of how and what to pray for. This is accomplished through the ongoing cultivation of our over-all spiritual life. People learn to pray with more and more spiritual understanding as they grow in their faith and fellowship with Christ and by feasting on His Word. There are those who pray without understanding and you will find them praying in a frivolous and worldly manner. Paul’s principle of praying with the understanding is essential for growth in God and in a purposeful and fruitful prayer life.

If you find yourself struggling to know where to begin in your own prayer life, take these two fundamental principles of the Apostle Paul to heart. Prayer with the spirit and with understanding; they are so important and a prerequisite to finding fulfillment in prayer.

~ apl